The Golfpocalypse is a weekly collection of words about (mostly) professional golf with very little in the way of a point, and the Surgeon General says it will make you a worse person. Reach out to The Golfpocalypse with your questions or comments on absolutely anything at [email protected].

Calm Down

This past week, I got paired with a stranger, which happens often when I sneak in a weekday nine. He was a nice guy, friendly, played fast-ish, and overall it wasn’t a bad time. The one issue is that he struggled on the first few holes, and every time he duffed a chip or shanked an iron, he would make a big display of groaning and swearing, followed by a line he kept repeating:

“I swear I’m not this bad.”

I’ve been there. Probably more around friends than strangers. In younger days, I’m sure I’ve said the exact same sentence aloud. But I’ve learned my lesson, and what I deeply wanted to tell him, in the nicest way possible, was this: Nobody cares.

I chickened out; it felt too rude. But like most golfers, I am so obsessed with the minutiae of my own game that my playing partner would have to make five consecutive aces before I noticed he or she was having a good round. There are exactly two things I will notice unbidden in a partner, and that’s if they’re playing too slow or have an especially annoying personality. That’s it. Beyond those specific flaws, they could dress up in a dog suit and use a human head for a ball and I’d just stand there worried about my lag putting.

But when you start saying things like, “I swear I’m not this bad,” it draws attention in a negative way. It makes you seem like you’re desperate for approval from a stranger, insecure, and quite possibly lying. In this case, the guy really wasn’t that bad, which he proved by closing our nine with a par and a birdie. But even then, his first frustrated words after making the birdie putt were, “I told you I wasn’t that bad.” He couldn’t even enjoy a good hole because in his mind he had lost some narrative battle with MY expectations. That’s madness! I had no expectations for you! We don’t even remember each other’s names! It’s like he thought I was going to write an evaluation of his game and post it on Tiktok, or get him banned from the course for making a quad.

Unfortunately, this is not uncommon—the golf courses of America are full of mediocre golfers on a mission to convince other people they’re very good. Before I wised up and stopped doing it myself, I often felt the same compulsion when playing with very good golfers, and it probably didn’t help the dude in question that I happened to be on fire the day we played. The insidious thing about approval seeking, though, is that it’s just not a bad look for the person in question—it’s annoying to everyone else. It puts your partners in a position where they have to reassure you or ignore you, both of which are unpleasant options.

Just as nobody gives a shit how you play, you should not give a shit what they think of you. I know this sounds like the world’s most generic advice, but golf is such a dirty lowdown psychologically punishing sport that you will produce plenty of triumph and pain right inside your own head, and that struggle should give you plenty to mull over. The minute you start caring what a playing partner thinks, you’ve given them way too much power and put an entirely needless kind of pressure on yourself. You might sour their day, too.

The beauty of recreational golf is that it’s the most inward-facing of any sport. So please, forget the need to perform for other people. Just perform for yourself, and when you fail, be like a normal person, call yourself a pathetic asshole, throw a club, and move on to the next hole. That’s the healthy way to play golf.



Icon Sportswire

1. If you had come to me before this tournament, placed both Davis Riley and Davis Thompson in front of me, and asked me to identify which was which under penalty of death, well…my life would have come down to a coin flip. You would have Anton Chigurh’ed me. That said, good for Thompson! It’s extremely hard to win your first Tour event, and while a tournament like the John Deere definitely looks “easy” from the outside, it’s definitely not easy to win when any round worse than a 64 puts you off the pace. Thompson had to go out and earn it, and he kicked ass on Sunday.

2. At one point, one of the announcers said that in Thompson, we might be looking at the next Scottie Scheffler. On one hand, you want to pour that person a cold drink and tell him, “friend, you don’t have to do this.” On the other, it’s such an outrageous comparison/prediction that it crosses over into being funny, and I want more of it. I want Jim Nantz to tell me that with a little hard work, Laurie Canter might start looking a lot like Ben Hogan.

3. The ams are too good. We must stop them. Luke Clanton knocked out his second consecutive top 10 in a Tour event, and he’s still in seventh grade. [Checks notes] Okay, he’s a rising junior at Florida State, but this kind of thing is still astounding. Is golf going to slowly turn into women’s tennis, where once you turn 25 they take you out to the woods on a cold, snowy day and tell you to walk until you can’t feel your feet? The kids are taking over! Even the Ryder Cup captain is only 38!

4. I don’t know if you can measure this kind of thing, but it felt like Hayden Springer’s 59 was the official moment when 59s stopped being cool. And it’s nothing against Springer, who seems like a nice guy with a story that could not be more moving; it’s just that he’s unknown and random enough to be a perfect totem for the rollback people who think 59 is the new 65. Put it this way: he’s the first Tour player to shoot a 59 and not have his own Wikipedia page. Coming hot off the heels of Cam Young’s 59, it’s just too much too fast, and I think we as a golf society have OD’ed on the number.

5. I’m really into the notion of a “Trophy House” like the one that has now produced three straight John Deere winners. It’s like the opposite of a ghost, and between this and the haunted house Wichani Meechai stayed in at the Women’s U.S. Open, it’s been a great year for supernatural homes in golf.


The Golfpocalypse is not a gambling advice service, and you should never heed anything written here. Better picks are here.


David Cannon

Week 1 record: 0-5

This week at the ISCO Championship on the PGA Tour, I like Michael Thorbjornsen, and I swear it’s not just because he was ranked first on some Power Rankings I just saw, which is the most time I’m going to spend on the ISCO Championship. What’s wild to me about Thorbjornsen is that he’s American, but with an aggressively Norwegian name…did you know the second “o” technically has a line through it? It’s that Norwegian. Which you might expect, because his dad is Norwegian. Obviously I’m used to seeing Scandinavian surnames in America, but this one feels like it just came over, and I like that. I’d also like to note that he has three sisters, and their middle names are Lotus, Caprise, and Corniche. That’s a flower, a cheese, and a type of coastal road…I like what these parents are up to.

At the Scottish Open, I’m all over Collin Morikawa. He’s the quiet almost man of the year so far, and while his irons aren’t sparkling like they used to, he’s been close too many times not to get a wins. I don’t think it’s going to be a major this year, so I’m tapping him to take home the Scottish when Rory blows a 19-stroke 54-hole lead.

At LIV Andalusia, I would be tempted to pick Jon Rahm in his home country, but I’m not entirely convinced that he isn’t irrevocably broken in the soul, so until someone can convince me, I’m giving the nod to red-hot content machine Bryson DeChambeau, who also has the potential to go approximately 50 under the next week at Royal Troon.

At the Evian Championship, a bona fide major on the LPGA Tour, I have to ride with Nelly Korda only because I can’t get over this Digest headline: “Ahead of next major, Nelly Korda’s dog bite is still mostly a mystery.” Our own Kent Paisley has not yet gotten to the bottom of it, but I know he will, even if he has to question every dog in Seattle.

And on the Champions Tour, we’ve got yet another major in the Kaulig Companies Championship, which is the corporate name for the Senior Players Championship, I’m riding hard for Ernie Els just because he has pulled off the tough act of aging successfully into a cool old guy.



David Cannon

I’m playing my first round of links golf on Monday in Scotland—please, shower me with hate—and I think links golf is going to be easy for me. After watching it on TV for years, and seeing how the big boys cut it up, I think it’s going to be simpler than American golf, where frankly there are too many trees and lakes and ponds. Everything in links golf feels wide open, I don’t care about the wind, and I’m going to completely dominate the entire nation of Scotland while shooting a personal best.

One thing worth noting, though, is that my sand game is abysmal. Is that going to be a problem?


Speaking of rough playing partners, Mark from Raleigh went to the best place on Earth, and then….

The scene is Pinehurst No. 4, very early spring ‘23, and we have a threesome. At the box, we meet our 4th—white guy, 5’8 or so, late 50s at least, some white scruff, slight beer gut, but using a pushcart like us. Let’s just call him Rick. At this point, he just seemed like a regular guy.

About halfway to our balls on the first hole, he pulls out the largest JBL speaker I’ve ever seen anyone bring on a golf course. It had a handle. It’s taking up the entirety of his pushcart mesh bag and is hanging out the end. Let me pause and say I really don’t have an issue with music on the course. To me, there’s an obvious etiquette to doing it: if anyone outside your group can hear your music, it’s too loud. And if you’re playing with randos, I would expect you would ask. But that’s just not Rick’s style. He fires up his speaker, and perhaps the most jarring voice you could unexpectedly drop on someone comes forth: Shaggy.

Now, you may be wondering, wait, Mark, did Rick fire up “It Wasn’t Me” or “Boombastic” with 3 randoms to start a round at Pinehurst? Maybe Rick is just hilarious? No. That is not what happened. Rick is not hilarious. I had never heard this song, but I knew it was Shaggy. There was no mistaking that voice.

As I stood over my 7-iron into 1 green, I did everything I could not to hear Shaggy. Honestly, given his age, I assumed Rick had picked some kind of island radio on Pandora expecting Jimmy Buffet, and it spit Shaggy at him. As we started walking toward the green, the song ended, and I thought, okay, that will be a good story; hopefully, something less distracting will come on next. As Shaggy’s voice faded and brief silence overtook the group, Shaggy’s spoken word ripped through the silence of the sand hills as yet another Shaggy song sprang forth. On the green, Rick pushed his cart far enough away that Shaggy was but a low Jamaican drone as I examined my lag putt. Rick offered his only advice to me of the day as I lined my putt up, stating, “That right there is the fastest putt in America.” Hearing this rattled me more than the steel drums of another Shaggy song. I re-evaluated, stepped up, and left it approximately 28 feet short.

At this point, I can confidently state the day was ruined, and walking to 2 tee, I seethed as a third Shaggy song came across Rick’s JBL. It was now clear; this was a Shaggy album.

The rest of the day was much like this first hole. Who can truly say how many Shaggy songs were played that day. The better question might be how many Shaggy albums were played. Did you know Shaggy has 17 studio albums? I sure didn’t, but I am confident I’ve now heard 9 of these at least.

Some obvious questions might be, how could you not ask, “What’s with the Shaggy man?” or “Hey, can we change it up?” As the round progressed, I was simply in disbelief. Shaggy endured; the round ended, and on 18, Rick shook my hand with an earnest face, no sign of acknowledging the shit he just put me through. I shot a 92. Thanks, Rick.

I want to congratulate Mark on his restraint here…I would have murdered Rick by the third hole, and no jury would convict me.

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